Marijuana Possession in Connecticut
In Connecticut, marijuana possession is unlawful and can result in fines and even jail time. Fortunately, there are a variety of defenses that can be raised to counter these types of charges, so if you live in Norwalk and have been arrested for or formally charged with possession of marijuana or another drug, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can explain your legal options.
Possession of Less Than Half Ounce
The severity of a marijuana possession charge depends on how much of the drug was found on the defendant’s person and whether he or she has a prior criminal record. For instance, those who are arrested with less than half an ounce of marijuana will only be charged a $150 fine for a first offense, while the fine for a subsequent offense increases to between $200 and $500. Third-time violators must pay for, attend, and complete a drug education class. Those who are under the age of 21 years old will also have their driver’s license suspended for two months.
Possession of More Than Half Ounce
When a person is arrested with more than half an ounce of marijuana, the potential penalties increase significantly. A first offense is a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in prison and a $2,000 fine. For a second offense, the court will determine whether the defendant is drug dependent, which may result in a suspension of the prosecution and mandatory substance abuse treatment. If, after subsequent offenses, the court finds that a defendant is a persistent offender for controlled substance possession, he or she can be charged with a Class E felony, which could mean up to three years in prison.
Possession Within 1,500 Feet of a School
If a person is arrested with more than half an ounce of marijuana and he or she is within 1,500 feet of an elementary or secondary school or a licensed day care center, he or she will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor and face a mandatory term of imprisonment and probation. Probation will also require the performance of community service. However, defendants may be able to escape these additional penalties if they can establish that:
- They are currently attending the school in question; or
- The day care center was not identified as such by a posted sign.
Possession with Intent to Sell
In some cases, prosecutors attempt to charge individuals not just with possession, but possession with intent to sell. These charges have much harsher consequences and even a first offense can lead to a seven-year prison sentence and a $25,000 fine. This charge is especially serious because a person can be convicted regardless of how much was on his or her person at the time of the arrest.
Contact a Member of Our Experienced Norwalk Criminal Defense Legal Team Today
Even minor drug possession charges can lead to fines and jail time, so if you or your child were arrested for marijuana possession, please contact the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner to discuss your case with a dedicated Norwalk criminal defense attorney. We are eager to assist you throughout each step of your case.